Ahh!! The Eighties Blockbuster
As its national book day, I feel a bookish theme coming on for my blog. Also, a challenge from a fellow blogger to use the word ‘library’ in a story.
My expertise in the book department extends to the fact that I read. Growing up, there was no shortage of books left lying around the house by my five older sisters. They were well thumbed, in fact probably diseased by the time I got them. It would take more than a few congealed crumbs or tea stained pages to put me off. A large portion of the books adorning our shelves were old fashioned, but I didn’t care. Swallows and Amazons, Just William, mouldy books that had been stuck on the shelf for years, I’d read them anyway, when I’d finished the Jackie.
Our local library in Raheny was too far away and I wasn’t allowed go there alone which really pissed me off. A day I remember clearly, when I was about 9 years old, a big lorry rolled up our street, the mobile library had arrived. Delight all round at this momentous event. Every kid in the neighbourhood wanted to have a poke around it, even the ones who had no interest in reading. God help us, excitement was a bit thin on the ground back then. It wouldn’t happen today, kids today getting excited about a tiny library. And it was tiny. It arrived every Wednesday for two hours. You had to get there early to find a good one. I remember a series of books called ‘The Bobbsey Twins’. They were in great demand, and if you found one you held on to it, you daren’t put it down or it would be snapped up. ‘The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island’ was my favourite, I read it many times over. For some reason most other books were set in English schools, whereas the Bobbsey’s lived in America. Exactly like the Brady Bunch and it doesn’t get more exotic that that (even now I want an Alice). My sister and I would get in the queue early and once inside, I’d start at one end and she’d take the other and we’d scour the shelves for any sighting of a Bobbsie Twin.
There was a library in school which we wouldn’t be caught dead in due to the overly religious theme to all of the books, beyond boring as all the characters had halos.
But then came…
The eighties blockbusters novels. Passed around to all and sundry. While there wasn’t as much choice, at least this meant that everybody read the same books and you could discuss and dissect with your friends the finer details of the predictable plots which were without exception driven by lust, love and revenge. Always formulaic, innocent girl (beautiful of course) meets powerful hero, throw in a quirky friend and a slimey playboy called Dimitri.
We devoured those books. I’ve no doubt I enjoyed the reading experience more back then. I don’t think there was a girl in the office who hadn’t read Jilly Cooper, ‘Riders’ and ‘Rivals’, Sidney Sheldons ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ and a series of books the first of which was ‘Flowers in the Attic’. Jackie Collins was standard issue and of course Shirley Conran if you wanted to be considered a woman of substance.
A few years ago I did attempt writing my epic novel. I quickly realised how difficult a challenge I’d set myself and promptly changed tack, deciding that my writing skills more suited to chick lit, that I should stop deluding myself that I had any writing talent. As it turned out, my effort at chick lit didn’t make the grade either. My manuscript returned to me covered in scribbles outlining exactly where my rags to riches tale of intrigue failed (thank God it never saw the light of day as I’d hate to put my name to such God-awful drivel – even worse than my blog).
And so, I credit The Bobbsie Twins and the mobile library with giving me an appreciation of the written word.
Where would any domestic Goddess be without a good book to lend a touch of fantasy to her hum drum existence.